By Robert M. Cutler
March 12, 2021, the CACI Analyst
For over twenty years, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have been at odds over the mid-Caspian oil and gas field that the former called “Kepez” (often rendered “Kyapaz” from the Russian) and that the latter called “Sardar.” In late 2020, they agreed to rename it Dostlug/Dostluk, meaning “Friendship” in their Turkic languages. On January 21, they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreeing on the terms for their joint exploration and development of the field. This agreement removes the last obstacle to the construction of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP).
By Brenda Shaffer
February 16, 2021, the CACI Analyst
On January 21, 2021 the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan signed an intergovernmental Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for joint development of the newly named Dostluq (friendship in Azerbaijani and Turkmen languages) oil and natural gas field. This agreement will likely facilitate multiple new ventures in oil and gas in the Caspian Sea. It also reflects the mutual desire of the two states for increased cooperation in multiple spheres beyond energy and is the result of increased contacts between the two neighboring countries over the last two years. Increased cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan is likely to emerge beyond the sphere of energy.
By John C. K. Daly
November 19, 2020, the CACI Analyst
The year 2020 is proving to be inordinately arduous for Turkmenistan, inflicted with a multitude of problems including the Covid-19 pandemic, plummeting natural gas prices and increasing concerns about rising violence in neighboring Afghanistan. Complicating the Turkmen government’s response to these crises is the country’s relative isolation imposed by its internationally recognized policy of strict neutrality. Given the transnational nature of these issues, the Turkmen government is fitfully readjusting its domestic and foreign policies to cope, as the threats are both internal and regional. The Turkmen government is increasingly aware that Turkmenistan cannot unilaterally resolve these threats and is attempting to devise international outreach programs for assistance, a significant deviation from its previous isolationist nationalist policies.
By Bakhrom Radjabov
June 4, 2020, the CACI Analyst
Since January, COVID-19 (coronavirus) has reached the level of a global pandemic. At first, some Central Asian republics seemed to be virus-free islands with zero confirmed infection cases. Afghanistan confirmed its first COVID-19 case on February 24, followed by a closure of the borders with other Central Asian republics. Kazakhstan discovered its first cases of COVID-19 on March 13, and Uzbekistan on March 15. Kyrgyzstan confirmed its first case on March 18 whereas Tajikistan did not report any cases until April 30. Before this date, the country allowed mass gatherings, including the celebration of Navruz, which was cancelled by other Central Asian governments. Turkmen authorities have so far not officially reported any cases of COVID-19 in the country.
By Nurlan Aliyev
May 27, 2020, the CACI Analyst
In early February, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo visited Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. He was received by the two heads of states in Nursultan and in Tashkent, Pompeo attended a C5+1 Ministerial with the foreign ministers of the five Central Asian republics to stress “U.S. support for a better connected, more prosperous, and more secure Central Asia” (State.gov). These thoughts are reflected in the new U.S. Central Asia Strategy. (State.gov). The renewed U.S. interest in Central Asia comes against the backdrop of China’s growing economic involvement in the region and Russia’s strong political and security relations with the Central Asian republics. Despite the Trump administration’s declarations of commitment to enhancing relations with the regional states, the perspectives of the U.S. in Central Asia should be examined.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.